Safe Foliage Choices For You and the Environment

In Ferns, Fillers, Floral Design by admincedarhill

Pick Me Instead – safe foliage choices for floral products

If you’ve read the article in this month’s Australian Flower Industry magazine, you’ll know that some of the popular products we use in floristry arrangements can be devastating to the environment.
We’re not talking about florist foam or plastic phials – we’re talking about flowers and foliage. Little pieces of stem and leaf that escape from our bouquets and get into the wild.

Imported Escapees Smother Native Plants

They smother native populations of vulnerable plants and take over large areas of bushland. Non-native plant matter can still grow, even after it has been cut and stored for several days. Mother Nature is a powerful force!

Working with Australian native foliage/floral fillers

Some imported plants are worse than others at causing environmental damage. The article names and shames the worst offenders, three types of Asparagus fern: Asparagus virgatus – trailing asparagus, Asparagus aethiopicus – foxtail fern, and Asparagus macowanii – ming fern.

Pick Me Instead – Safe Foliage Choices For You and the Environment

Happily for florists and the environment, the Pick Me Instead project has identified perfect alternatives to these enviro-thugs, that are safe to use and native to Australia. It’s a Win-Win!

No to Asparagus Fern

If you want a soft, ferny, airy look to your bouquets and arrangements, Emu Feather (Caustis flexuosa) is your perfect choice. It has long slender straight stems that open up into a cloud of delicate soft green fronds. It softens arrangements, adds height and size, and gives a woodsy rustic feel to bouquets.

Dingo Fern has a bright fresh green colour and long straight stems banded with attractive tan-brown strips. The individual fern fronds all the way up the stem are light and airy, like an open fern. This makes Dingo Fern a great filler choice for rustic, wildflower style bouquets and a stylish addition to arrangements.

Asparagus virgatus – trailing asparagus
Wedding bouquet featuring Emu Feather Fern
Bunch of freshly harvested Dingo Fern
No to Foxtail Fern

If you’re looking for something dense, fluffy and tactile, with eye-catching impact, you can’t go past Woolly Bush (Adenanthos). The delicate grey-green colouring, blushing to bronze at the tip, adds elegance to your bouquets and bunches and complements a wide range of flower shades. Plus, that velvety texture – so strokeable!

Goanna Claw (Caustis recurvata) has a unique curly look to the fronds, and long light trailing stems which adapt to bouquet making, classic arrangements, and more creative work in wedding flower crowns, tablecentres and cascading bouquets.

Goanna Claw’s long flexible stems and curly spiralling fronds bend and knit together, making it easy to create all-natural wreaths, garlands, and foliage base for your event and installation pieces.

Asparagus aethiopicus – foxtail fern
Coral inspired floral design featuring Woolly Bush
Bridal Bouquet features native Australian foliage, Goanna Claw Fern
No to Ming Fern

The bright apple-green colour and fat fluffy fronds of Koala Fern (Caustis blakei) make it a versatile and attractive foliage for all kinds of creative work. Koala Fern’s long straight sturdy stems are easy for fast bunching and bouquet work, and for adding vertical height to arrangements. The segmented foliage can be cut into individual ‘fluffs’ for basing flower foams and creating wreaths, which makes it a great budget choice.

If you are making a collar for a bouquet, outlining an arrangement, or creating an intricate boutonniere or formal corsage, the native Forest Lace (Stenocarpus) is ideal. The delicate leaf fronds are extremely finely cut, and last well in water; and the subtle soft green shade complements other flower colours beautifully.

Asparagus macowanii – ming fern
Soft tufts of native Australian foliage - Koala fern
Floral centrepiece featuring Stenocarpus Forest Lace